Until genuine rights are extended to all patients, the ongoing health-care-reform saga perpetrated by Congress and executive leadership will continue to fail the American people. Many Americans have suffered and died because of a broken health-care-delivery system. One of us lost a 19-year old son due to lack of certain patient rights – specifically the right to evidence-based medicine and the right to a complete discharge plan from his hospital. ...

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It is not enough to know that a patient’s medical condition warrants an MRI. For most insurance companies, a diagnostic test of this sort requires what is known as a prior-authorization. But, the doctor saying the patient needs this test often fails. The insurance company has a certain guideline the patient must travel first before they will consider the test. For example, a patient with back pain and numbness in one ...

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Countless times as a patient both at two hospitals in New York City, I have witnessed doctors arrogantly waltzing into an examination room and arriving not alone but with an entourage. Like Greeks bearing gifts, they arrived with something unwanted and threatening: medical students, interns, residents, and fellows. And not once, in all the many times that I have been subjected to this ignominious practice, was my consent ever obtained ...

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The ability to access health information via the Internet is creating a generation of empowered, informed patients. While this is almost always beneficial to both patients and the patient-physician relationship, it does call for changes to traditional counseling methods. Widespread access to myriad health information sources has divided patients into two subsets: those who prefer traditional counseling and those who become “personal health researchers” or PHRs. While some patients will continue ...

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I have a very interesting job: I travel around the country providing neuromonitoring to surgeons in the operating room. I’m also an anesthesiologist assistant, certified and licensed to provide anesthesia. Throughout my ten-year career in the OR, I’ve been the guest of nearly a hundred hospitals in the U.S. and the UK. No two hospitals are the same. My career has allowed me to meet hundreds of incredibly caring doctors, ...

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Imagine driving through an unfamiliar area, and there are no street signs. How would you feel? Frustrated? Scared? Angry? You would feel these emotions because you had no direction or guidance. Patients need direction when they enter the health care system. Signposting is a tool to provide direction. On the streets, there are posts that have signs. They provide direction; they tell us where we are going. Hence, the name, “signposting.” ...

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In my first year in the hospital, as a third-year medical student, there was one refrain I often heard from physicians and staff alike: This is a hospital, not a hotel. It was an expression of the frustration engendered by “needy patients,” those who were upset that their breakfast was late or that the room was too hot or that they couldn’t speak with the physician just this second. Often, ...

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Just as summer is in full swing, the back-to-school advertisements are running. This time of year can be exciting for many — the first day of elementary school, high school or college. For the rest of us, we try to be lifelong learners: learning from our successes and failures, learning from others and if we are lucky learning by reading. Reading is a skill learned in the early school years. Children ...

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In 1996, I had an illness that nearly killed me. I was exhausted, felt awful, could barely stand up and had trouble remembering things. Yet, I somehow had to find the energy not only to take care of my newborn and 5 year old, coordinate our upcoming move, consult with doctors and other medical providers on my condition and treatment, and receive treatments that might or might not help me ...

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In a world of cyberchondria and a web polluted with unlimited medical data, patients are searching their symptoms, diagnoses and treatment options even before going to a physician. Nowadays, at least one third of patients go on the Internet for self-diagnosis — or, often, self-misdiagnosis. After searching for a symptom, understanding e-medical facts is not as simple as reading hotel amenities or reviewing a pizza place. This paradigm introduces new patient ...

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